Tony Pollard is a RB who fits in with the Cowboys scheme much better than Ezekiel Elliot. Here are a few reasons why the young Pollard may just be starting for Dallas sooner rather than later for ‘America’s Team’.
Dak And Zeke Forever?
Ezekiel Elliot’s best season thus far was his rookie season in 2016. Totaling 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns is absurd for a rookie running back in any city, let alone Dallas, where essentially everything is talked about on the national stage. Elliot and Dak Prescott, who at the time was also a rookie, both had outstanding inaugural seasons and the Cowboys were the talk of the league all year. They would eventually fall to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in a classic playoff game in Dallas, on a last second field goal by Mason Crosby.
The stage was set however, for Prescott and Elliot to dominate the NFL for years to come. The early connection and chemistry they found in just year one was bound to widen and they were going to be the best QB/RB tandem in football, right? Well, not quite. Injuries befell the star runner out of Ohio State in year two, and his numbers looked much different from his rookie season.
Failing to reach 1,000 yards on the ground, along with the Cowboys missing the postseason, it was safe to say everything was not perfect in the lone star state. After a 2018 campaign where Elliot looked great again, the Cowboys again fell in the playoffs, this time to the Los Angeles Rams, headed by a dominant defense and head coach Sean McVay, who utterly outclassed Dallas.
In the ensuing draft, the ‘Boys drafted running back, yes running back Tony Pollard out of Memphis in the fourth round. Pollard, known for his receiving skills from out of the backfield and quickness, impressed early. He seems to be progressing as each season unfolds, and after a 2021 campaign in which he accounted for more than 1,000 yards, he is currently viewed as the next potential starter in Dallas.
What Pollard Brings
Additionally, his 719 yards on the ground last season came on just 130 carries. If my calculations are correct, Pollard averages five and a half yards per carry, which is vastly superior to the four that ‘Zeke was able to muster per carry in 2021. I believe that 2022 is a make or break year for Ezekiel Elliot, because Tony Pollard has been impressing coaches and players with his play ever since he was drafted.
He is a do-it-all back, who fits much better into the Cowboys offensive scheme, and is exactly what head coach Mike McCarthy excels with. On the other hand, Elliot has been tabbed as a “star”, however never seems to be the focal point of the Cowboy offense.
A Better Fit?
Prescott is of course valued much higher, and with the positives that Pollard brings, Elliot becomes strangely expendable, while Pollard should be running with the one’s in Dallas for years to come. A true back who can catch passes, run routes, score near the goal line or break runs for north of twenty yards, Pollard could very well be starting, while Elliot is forced to find a new team or is dealt for draft capital.
Something that is very apparent to me is when die-hard fans of a team have strong opinions on certain matters and topics. A large brass of Dallas Cowboy fans were mind-blown by the decision to have Tony carry the ball just four times in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. And Elliot was no game-changer either, just carrying twelve times for thirty one yards. I believe that this year, with the departure of Amari Cooper and the potentially increased role of the running backs, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore should utilize Pollard as much as he can, and test him in hopes that he outplays the declining Elliot.
Potential Fantasy God
Players such as Austin Ekeler, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey dominate the fantasy football world, and it’s because of their ability to catch the football for 400-500 yards as well as find seams and rush for around 800-1,000 yards on the ground. It goes without saying that if Pollard is totaling 700 and 300, respectively in the role that he has now, he should have no problem being one of those 1,600 to 1,800 total yards type of backs. It’s truly a matter of time in my opinion until Pollard has that opportunity in Dallas.